Fri | Dec 14, 2018

Road to PEP - Mastering communication

Published:Sunday | May 6, 2018 | 12:00 AMBrittany Singh Williams

Mastery in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) is reflected in a student's ability to not only apply content knowledge in mathematics, social studies, English language and science but to demonstrate proficiency the 4C's creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking.

In this article we will be focusing on communication.

Communication is imparting and transferring knowledge and information. It is crucial in developing human interaction and helps to build connections to better understand the world around us.

Preceding the ever- changing technologies we see today were novel ideas, opinions, and perspectives. And as developments accelerate, we must encourage our students to develop the skill and to utilise the streams of communications available.

Both print and digital forms of communication have a broader reach and fewer barriers, providing access to a range of information having an impact on all areas of interest. Our approach to developing communication skills in the school setting has been modified.

To develop the capacity in our students to be effective communicators, we can no longer restrict content delivery to English language class. Instead, we must consider communication mastery in all areas of academic study. PEP students will now be assessed to communicate clearly and persuasively with a variety of audiences and on various subject matters.

PEP will require that students demonstrate communication competency throughout the various assessment models in all subjects.

For example, for a performance task in science class, students might produce a report about an experiment to include a narrative text and visual evidence of what was observed throughout the project. This activity would require clear articulation but also the ability to decipher meaning and include knowledge.

Mastery in communication will take into account how thoughts are articulated on a range of purposes (e.g., to inform, instruct, motivate, etc) and in diverse situations. For example, a possible task that facilitates the observation of communication in mathematics would be that students would work in groups to design a supermarket.

One student would play the role of the supermarket owner and the others would be the design team. The team would be given space constraints, measurements (wall and floor area), and other information. The design team would need to interview the client for preference regarding shelf location and sizes, decorative items, and other details.

The team would then need to produce a scale of the drawing of the room with an explanation of why it satisfies the client's needs.

 

TIPS FOR PARENTS:

 

Sharing information efficiently and effectively and communicating thoughts and ideas clearly are critical for PEP mastery. Parent- child communication is the fuel that powers the engine of this development: instilling passion, listening, being available, demonstrating understanding, and showing mutual respect and emotion.

Treat your child as a valued communication partner. Have age-appropriate conversations with your children. This means taking turns to speak and to listen to each other; avoiding over correcting; giving them time to think and to answer; always maintaining eye contact. Value what your children say and their perspectives.

Be a good "speaking" model. Be mindful of the words you use and how you use them. Not only do you want to model voice tones, inflections, and use of language but be cognisant that you play an important role in developing vocabulary. A good rule of thumb is speaking slightly above your child's level and repeating new words often and using them in different contexts.

Eat meals together. Much conversation happens around the dinner table or even on car or bus rides to and from school. Spend time together in discussion. Practise asking your children open-ended questions. Open-ended questions stretch children's curiosity, reasoning ability, creativity, and independence because there is no right or wrong answer.

Some examples include:

- What happened?

- What other ideas do you have?

Tell me about it.

- Can you help me think this through?

- How do you know that?

- How are they alike, different?

Encourage leisure reading. Introduce reading material on topics in which your child already shows interest. Information is wide and available in many formats e.g., digital media, magazines, and books, and even talking to persons with expertise. Expose your children to information while being mindful that you may have to also show interest in the same topic in order to participate in rich discussions together.

Developing strong communication skills at home enhances your child's abilities and promotes academic excellence. It is easiest when we engage our children as a regular habit. Simply put: talk a lot and listen a lot.

- Brittany Singh Williams is the founder of SPARK Education Ltd and senior adviser to the minister of state in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information